homepage logo

Action catches the second largest marlin of the year

By Staff | Jun 9, 2016

From left, Jim Mayo, deckman Rob Cosgrove and Capt. Jonny Keiley with their 631.5-pound marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Action joined the 600-pound marlin club with the second largest blue of the year-to-date, weighing 631.5 pounds, angled by Jim Mayo. He was assisted by Capt. Jonny Keiley and deckman Rob Cosgrove.

They were fishing the GG-Buoy seven miles off Nakaohu Point (Luala’ilua, Four Hills) on the backside of Maui. With the waters pretty crappy, Jonny headed inside to fish for ono. Rob started to put out the ono lures as they came up on the 100-fathom ledge. He was just setting out the third jet when the short rigger lure got bit.

The fish took out 80-100 yards of 100-test line and stopped. At first they thought they had a big ono hooked. It didn’t do anything for a few seconds, and then it went crazy, thrashing across the surface and jumping one time, clearing the surface.

They knew they had a nice-sized fish on the line as it screamed off 200 yards into the Dacron backing in a couple of minutes. Since there were only two lines in the water, Rob had them cleared pretty quickly.

It was really rough water – east winds at 15-20 knots with five-foot wind waves. Jonny tried to back down on the fish, but the boat wanted to sit sideways in the swell, so he had to keep correcting the angle over and over. The marlin was still taking line, so Rob pushed up the drag almost to the strike button.

Once the marlin slowed down, Rob pushed up the drag to the button. Jonny was just trying to drive the boat straight. He tried reversing on the marlin, but he wasn’t able to go fast enough because of the rough water, so he decided to turn and chase after it.

Rob turned the chair toward the port side corner so they could catch up to the marlin. By that time, the fish had out 400 yards on them. As Jonny motored the boat ahead into the swell, trying to get in front of it, they started to gain line, getting the mono back on the spool in 10-12 minutes.

With only a 9.0-hook in the fish, they didn’t want to push up the drag too fast. Rob eased the drag over the button, finally stopping the marlin. Jonny was finally able to get up on top of the fish in 15-20-minutes, with it straight up and down off the stern.

Jonny tried doing circles on the fish, maneuvering the boat to get in front of it and changing the angle to get the marlin to come up. They even tried to plane it up. They couldn’t put enough drag on the fish to plane it up to get any line back, so they just tried working on it straight up and down. Nothing seemed to work. They were getting nowhere.

Jim was cranking on the fish but not gaining much line. With them in a stalemate, Rob put the reel into low gear and pushed up the drag almost to “sunset.” After a few minutes, Jonny figured the marlin was dead, so he had Rob begin to hand-line the fish.

With about 200 yards of line out, Jonny backed the boat into the swell to keep close to the fish and keep the boat stable for Rob. This allowed less radical up and down movement with the line and fish. Rob slowly, foot by foot, pulled the marlin upward for the next 45 minutes.

Finally, Rob saw color and shouted to Jonny, “coming up,” as he pulled it to double line. It was pretty easy to leader, as the marlin came up upside down right off the stern with very little movement. At that point, the fish was quickly secured.

Upon inspection behind the boat, the marlin had lassoed itself with the leader. When it grabbed the lure, the hook snagged into its cheek, with the leader going through its mouth, around and over its dorsal fin, then under the peck fin and belly, back to the other side were the hook was. The leader then slid under the hook, bridling itself as it synched the line tight on the hook.

They never had more than 400 yards of line out, but that was enough to make it a tough hour-and-15-minute fight in those conditions.

For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Jim his trip for free. They also donated $300 to a Maui charity as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.